Writing that title alone makes me feel like a sad, dried-up clover from the shit-covered spring patch on the side of the house.
Nobody knew it then, but 25 years ago the rather newly established studio Trimark who had previously belted out cult horror hits such as “WARLOCK” and “DOLLY DEAREST”, unleashed something glorious unto the world of cult cinema. “LEPRECHAUN”, released in January of 1993, beat the odds and managed to pull $8.5 million from that pot of gold at the end of the ticket sales rainbow against its just under $1 million production budget.
That’s a lot of coins considering.
Writer and Director Mark Jones of the original “LEPRECHAUN” film, was inspired to bring a quirky leprechaun film to life from both Lucky Charms commercials and the “CRITTERS” films. Originally, the concept was a more family-friendly affair more to the tune of films like “GREMLINS”. However, after filming had already gone underway, Jones made the decision to aim for horror cult phenomena (even if he didn’t know it then) and go for a more horror based approach. And I’m so glad he did. Even so, Warwick Davis would later get that more friendly leprechaun role in “A VERY UNLUCKY LEPRECHAUN” in 1998.
Shot over the course of three weeks hot off the same studio where “TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY” had just wrapped production, a then-unknown Jennifer Aniston and “WILLOW”’s Warwick Davis set the stage for THEE definitive St. Paddy’s Day go-to-horror-film. Speaking of stages, a good portion of the violent scenes were filmed at Simi Valley’s Big Sky Ranch- home of “THE WALTONS” and “LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE”. The twisted bastard inside of me feels utter joy knowing good ole’ Warwick split open a few humans over the sacred ground of such heartwarming, fuzzy family programming. Think about that for a second, and you’ll probably snicker too.
With five sequels to follow over the course of the next decade, the “LEPRECHAUN” franchise maintains its crown as the King of St. Paddy’s Horror. Nothing like it before or since then, has a formidable opponent come along to challenge our favorite shoe-shining maniac in a proper fighting Irish duel.
Probably for the best. Who has the cajones to pit themselves against the guy that forever tainted Lucky Charms cereal?